Tenet Agrees To Cooperate With Congressional Investigation Into Niger Fraud

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"Tenet Agrees To Cooperate With Congressional Investigation Into Niger Fraud"

tenet.jpgFormer CIA Director George Tenet has agreed to cooperate with a House investigation into the White House’s fraudulent pre-war claim that Iraq had sought uranium from Niger for a nuclear weapon. That assertion — the infamous “16 words” in President Bush’s 2003 State of the Union address — was a critical part of administration’s case for war.

In a new statement, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) announced that Tenet will provide a deposition on the issue and testify before the committee on June 19:

Today Chairman Henry A. Waxman announced that the Oversight Committee will postpone the hearing with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice from May 15, 2007, to June 19, 2007. The hearing is being postponed to allow former CIA Director George Tenet to testify with Secretary Rice and to accommodate Secretary Rice’s travel schedule.

Mr. Tenet has agreed to cooperate with the Committee’s inquiry into whether the White House overstated Iraq’s efforts to obtain uranium from Africa and its nuclear threat in making the case for war. Mr. Tenet has agreed to provide a deposition to the Committee prior to the hearing.

Under Tenet, the CIA had debunked the claims about uranium and Niger months before the ’03 State of the Union. The CIA “even demanded it be taken out of two previous presidential speeches.” Tenet now says the 16 words made it into the State of the Union because he delegated the review of that speech to his deputies.

Tenet has been far more willing to discuss the Niger claims than Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Waxman has been forced to subpoena Rice to appear at the hearing along with Tenet, and thus far Rice maintains she will not comply, claiming she has already answered Waxman’s questions “in full.” Also, last month, the State Department refused to allow intelligence analyst Simon Dodge to be interviewed by House investigators; weeks before the ’03 State of the Union, Simon examined the documents supposedly from Niger and determined they were “probably a hoax” and “clearly a forgery.”

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Read the full oversight committee statement below:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 14, 2007

Rice Testimony Postponed
Tenet to Cooperate in Committee Investigation

WASHINGTON, DC – Today Chairman Henry A. Waxman announced that the Oversight Committee will postpone the hearing with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice from May 15, 2007, to June 19, 2007. The hearing is being postponed to allow former CIA Director George Tenet to testify with Secretary Rice and to accommodate Secretary Rice’s travel schedule.

Mr. Tenet has agreed to cooperate with the Committee’s inquiry into whether the White House overstated Iraq’s efforts to obtain uranium from Africa and its nuclear threat in making the case for war. Mr. Tenet has agreed to provide a deposition to the Committee prior to the hearing.

The Committee also sent a letter to Stephen Hadley, the National Security Advisor, requesting his voluntary appearance at a deposition. Mr. Hadley was the Deputy National Security Advisor and Secretary Rice was the National Security Advisor when the President relied on evidence, which turned out to be false, about Iraq’s efforts to obtain uranium in his 2003 State of the Union address.

Secretary Rice refused repeated requests by Chairman Waxman to testify voluntarily before the Committee, leading the Committee to issue a subpoena for her appearance. Chairman Waxman continues to expect that she will comply with the congressional subpoena.

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